8 Game-Changing Career Tips for Introverts
Check out these words of wisdom from the experts.
So you’re an ambitious, career-minded woman who just so happens to be an introvert. You think before you speak, prefer working alone, and feel drained when your days are overscheduled. But these traits don’t have to hold you back! Introverts can still build successful businesses (ever heard of Zuckerberg and a little company called Facebook?), manage a team, run high-priority meetings, kill it at events, and be the life of the happy hour. You just need to be proactively strategic when it comes to managing your career path.
In the spirit of introverts rule (they do!), we’re sharing eight wildly insightful tips from our favorite blogs, top industry-insider books, and the experts who know a thing or two about winning at work—while introverted.
On choosing the right career
“Introverts by their very nature like to process ideas in their head before sharing with others. [Dr. Laurie] Helgoe says that a work environment that requires constant ‘on your feet’ thinking will be stressful for introverts, while one that allows and encourages strategic thinking and planning will feel like home.” —From MyDomaine’s interview with Dr. Laurie Helgoe, PhD, author of Introvert Power
On group brainstorming sessions
“Before going into a meeting, prepare what you want to say, and give yourself a push to speak up early. The ideas articulated earliest are the ones people listen to most. You’ll feel psychologically more present when you speak up and others start directing their comments to you.” —From “Getting Credit, Shining in Job Interviews, and More: A Work Q&A” with Susan Cain, introversion expert, speaker, and author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
On meeting maintenance
“Having an ‘out’ is key. Plan back-to-back meetings, wear a watch or casually let your clients know you have somewhere to be in the next hour. You will avoid small talk and will get things done!” —From Charge Up Introverts, by creative entrepreneurs Claire Deane and Allie Lehman
On coffee consumption (!)
“After ingesting about two cups of coffee, extraverts carry out tasks more efficiently, whereas introverts perform less well. This deficit is magnified if the task they are engaging in is quantitative and if it is done under time pressure. For an introvert, an innocent couple cups of coffee before a meeting may prove challenging, particularly if the purpose of the meeting is a rapid-fire discussion of budget projections, data analysis, or similar quantitative concerns. In the same meeting, an extraverted colleague is likely to benefit from a caffeine kick.” —From Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being, by psychologist Brian Little
On networking comfortably
“Ask plenty of questions. As an introvert, it’s easy to feel anxious when all the attention is on you. To deter that feeling, ask questions so the focus shifts towards the other person. People love to talk about themselves, so the best way to kick off the conversation is by asking open-ended questions. This allows the other person to discuss their interests and background, which means you might also discover some common ground.” —From “How to Deal With Small Talk When You’re An Introvert” on The Everygirl
On facilitating connections
“One thing about introversion that works well for me is that I don’t need to be in the middle. If I know A, and I know B, and I think A can help B and vice-versa, I’ll introduce them and say, ‘no need to keep me in the loop.’ Surprisingly to me, this turned out to be a powerful networking technique. A and B NEVER FORGET who introduced them. The next thing I know, I’m considered ‘the source’ for many successful combinations so I am always sought out for advice, which feeds my various business interests.” —From “The Ultimate Guide to Being an Introvert” by self-empowerment blogger and author of 16 books James Altucher
On leveraging social media
“Quiet influencers use both social networking and traditional face-to-face networking strategies to be effective. Social media is a great medium for quieter women. It allows them to control how and when they will engage with others. With an online presence others can get to know as much about you as you care to share; it also helps you to achieve visibility that might be difficult to gain in person.” —From “Quietly Leaning In: An Introvert’s Guide to Leadership” by Jennifer Kahnweiler, PhD, author of The Introverted Leader: Building On Your Own Quiet Strength
On handling events
“Take time outs. So I can play the extravert. But I get exhausted at events. I get exhausted in crowds. I get exhausted at book signings. I get really really drained. I recharge my batteries by myself. So if you need to take a break, go outside, chill out for 10 minutes. Lean against the wall. Lay down in the park. Take time to recharge. If you try to play the extrovert for too long you’ll just get burned out and the next day you won’t even participate.” —From the “How to Build a World-Class Network in Record Time” podcast by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek
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